Remote Medical International staff members Andrew Cull, Melina Moran, Rich Chatman, Steve Costello, and Debi Solberg recently returned from New Orleans as members of the WA-1 and OR-2 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT)performing a variety of tasks including triage, setting up the New Orleans Airport as a casualty collection point, providing critical care and emergency services, and bringing the only hospital back online in the city.
The teams spent nearly six weeks in Louisiana, arriving several days before Katrina hit with stints in the SuperDome, the New Orleans Airport, Touro Hospital, Kindred Hospital, and in Lake Charles following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and seeing thousands of patients.
Due to the lack of resources, we were definitely in a wilderness environment medically. Our improvisational skills were definitely used on a regular basis, and in many cases we had patients for a very extended period due to the sheer volume of people involved. I believe that for all involved it was and will be one of the most profound experiences of our lives.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and rescuers involved in the hurricanes.